January 23, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) The US-led coalition in Iraq held a strategy meeting in London this week. Representatives from all of the key groups were invited to participate with the notable exception of the Kurds.
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The Kurds reside in an area that spans from Iran to Turkey. Their exclusion from the meeting raised eyebrows because the Kurds have been doing the bulk of the fighting and they are the only ethnicity that has been able to achieve any significant military victories over ISIS fighters. Just yesterday, the peshmerga (Kurdish soldiers) pushed ISIS out of a 300-square-mile area in Northern Iraq and succeeded in cutting ISIS supply lines into the occupied city in Mosul.
The Kurdish men and women that are doing the fighting are the most effective indigenous forces in Iraq. The Kurds were treated brutally under Saddam Hussein’s regime. The footage of Iraqi civilians being gassed that the US used as propaganda to incite the war in Iraq was mainly from the Kurdish city of Halabja. In the power vacuum created by the US invasion, the Kurds were smart enough to see a chance for autonomy. They began training their soldiers and by the time the US forces withdrew, what was a simple resistance movement had grown into a very efficient military.
Masoud Barzani, the President of Iraqi Kurdistan, described being left out of the meeting as “disheartening.”
Leaving the Kurds out of the meeting wasn’t an accident. Governments don’t conduct strategy meetings and accidentally leave out the only force that has had any measurable success. The decision was intentional and, as usual, politics and corporate greed trumped common sense while putting the lives of the soldiers on the front line in jeopardy.
Even before the ISIS threat, Iraq’s central government was weak. Now, it is teetering on the edge of oblivion. This is the same central government that has signed contracts with western corporations. The Kurds want their own nation, which would require the breakup of Iraq. That breakup would endanger those contracts. If the US had invited the Kurds, it would have granted legitimacy to the Kurdish cause. The US Administration has decided that those contracts are more important than defeating ISIS or establishing a country in the Middle East that is controlled by an ethnicity that is more modern than any of the neighboring countries.
Despite their ferocity on the battlefield, the Kurds are not fanatics. They are simply displaying the will to survive that forms after an ethnicity has been trampled by a government and seen thousands of its own die in chemical weapon attacks. The difference between the Kurds and the rest of the Middle East is best exemplified in their treatment of women. Kurdish women can wear blue jeans in public. That could literally cause a woman to lose her head in some nearby nations. The Kurds have female infantry soldiers in their military. Most militaries in the West haven’t even reached that level of gender equality. An independent and recognized Kurdistan could trigger reformations across the Middle East.
Leaving the Kurds out signals two things to the world. First, the United States has no interest in actually defeating ISIS. The radical Islamic group is far too useful as a boogeyman to really want it gone. Second, the lives of US, Kurdish, Iraqi, Canadian, and British troops are not nearly as important as money.
As the nation celebrates Navy Sniper Chris Kyle, the country shows that for all the “support our troops” chanting, they really don’t care. Right now, US special operations forces are on the ground in Iraq. They were just sold out and denied the ability to effectively coordinate with locals that know the terrain and tactics of the enemy.
When a flag draped coffin arrives at Arlington with the next Chris Kyle in it, know that he didn’t die for his country. He died for the bottom line of companies that would rather see him dead than negotiate new contracts with a Kurdish government. Most of the nation’s pro-troop lobby was too busy arguing with Michael Moore on Twitter over some stupid movie to even notice that US troops are going to die in the name of profits. If you really care about the troops, maybe it’s time you do more than put a bumper sticker on your car.
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